Thursday, December 15, 2005

Technocrap & Christian Allegory

I’ve done it! I’ve managed to recover the something like 400,000 emails from my old, defunct machine which I thought I’d lost forever, or which had been reduced to some kind of pixellated sludge. Here’s how it works: [WARNING: the following is only of any possible interest to Macintosh geeks, to those of my enemies who are seeking to topple me from my exalted position by detailing my minor obsessions, and – judging by the message boards out there – to about 50,000 people who have exactly the same problem I did] The “old” Macintosh Mail – hereafter known as “Pink Panther,” or PP – stored mail in much the same way every other email program did; in these folder thingies called “mbox”es, where the entire contents of a mailbox would be bunged together into a single document, which when you opened it with Textedit or something looked remarkably like a page from the late Cantos. The “new” Mail – hereafter known as “Paper Tiger,” or TP – stores email messages in mbox folders, BUT stores them as separate “emlx” files; that’s so the “Searchlight” function (hereafter known as SLF) can read each & every single one of them (gosh, now I sound like a college president) and tell you when you used the word “desuetude” in an email to someone you haven’t seen or thought of in 5 years. Seems like there’d be a problem translating those PP mboxes into TP emlxes, right? Bet even Ezra Pound couldn’t do it!

Well, wrong. The problem had nothing to do with that. Turns out that all of the mailbox folders except for your inbox, your “sent” box (hereafter known as SB), and your “trash” (hereafter known as “trash”) are stored in a folder known as “Mailboxes,” which is in the “Mail” folder, in the “Library” folder, in your user directory. [Carruthers! – You in the back! WAKE UP!] Said folder was missing, & I had to create it from scratch, a delicate procedure which I believe can be used to demonstrate the fundamental truths of intelligent design. (I hit Apple-shift-N, and then named the thing.) That did the trick.
Joshua Clover posts a cool parody of right wingnuttery from The Colbert Report:
This movie’s been labeled a Christian allegory, just because its hero, “Aslan the lion,” sacrifies his life on a hilltop to save the world, and through the power of love rises from the grave to defeat evil. Sorry, doesn’t work as an allegory. Last time I checked, Jesus wasn’t a lion. This is worse than taking the Christ out of Christmas; this is taking the Christ out of Jesus...[The Passion of Christ], now that was a great Christian allegory. I’m pretty sure Jim Caviezel symbolized Jesus.

Funny thing is that I’ve just been thinking about the Narnia books as Xtian allegory. (By the way, I am not a Narnia fan; I confess to being a pretty deeply sick Tolkien fan, but the Lewis books just never did it for me. For the record, Tolkien thought they were pretty weak, too.) I think Adam Gopnick, in his 21 November New Yorker review of Alan Jacobs’s biography of Lewis, The Narnian, nails what's wrong with Narnia as allegory:
a central point of the Gospel story is that Jesus is not the lion of the faith but the lamb of God, while his other symbolic animal is, specifically, the lowly and bedraggled donkey. The moral force of the Christian story is that the lions are all on the other side. If we had, say, a donkey, a seemingly uninspiring animal from an obscure corner of Narnia, raised as an uncouth and low-caste beast of burden, rallying the mice and rats and weasels and vultures and all the other unclean animals, and then being killed by the lions in as humiliating a manner as possible – a donkey who reemerges, to the shock even of his disciples and devotees,a s the king of all creation – now, that would be a Christian allegory. A powerful lion, starting life at the top of the food chain, adored by all his subjects and filled with temporal power, killed by a despised evil witch for his power and then reborn to rule, is a Mithraic, not a Christian, myth.


E. M. Selinger said...

Wonderful, this from Gopnick. I'm not looking forward to bringing my kids to see "the passion of the kitty," as they called it in the Chicago Tribune; good to have some talking points aforehand.

(Of course, who in the four corners of the world now knows what "Mithraic" means? Aside from us New Yorker readers, natch.)


Norman Finkelstein said...

Forget Aslan, fellas. King Kong died for our sins.

E. M. Selinger said...

That's "Aslan (TM)," as my son likes to remind me.

(This from the same boy who caught me singing "Jesus, the Savior / Was a jolly, happy soul," the other day. Oops.)


Anonymous said...

That is a load of rubbish.Have you ever heard of the Lion of Judah? Who do you suppose that is?Jesus was never personified as a donkey,a lamb yes, but not a donkey.He merely rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.You need to spend some time reading the Bible before you sit and comment on it.In the Bible God is described in many ways.He can not be put in a box or given a particular tag.Getting to my point...Don't speak if you haven't got a clue!